Is It Dangerous To Have A Leaking Water Heater?

Water heaters operate very well under many circumstances with regular care, maintenance, and cleaning, but problems can occur with all home appliances. If the electric water heater is leaking, the crucial reasons include loose valves, corroded water tanks, or condensation during unusually cold temperatures.

Many dangers are associated with a water heater that leaks. You may come across a water heater that leaks in your home. While a small leak is generally no big deal, it indicates a more significant and relatively dangerous issue if you do not attend to it.

This article discusses the hazards related to a leaking water heater, the causes, and solutions.

Dangers Of Leaking:

Some of the highlighted queries of water heaters include, Will a leaking water heater explode? Can a leak indicate a broken heating element? Will a leaking water heater make the water dirty? And how does a leak damage property? Here are the answers to all.

hot water heater leaking

Will A Leaking Water Heater Explode?

If you find the water leaking from the relief valve (designed to expel excess water when pressure is built up in the water heater), it can explode. It happens when the water temperature is set too high.

The water pressure becomes high, thereby damaging or breaking the relief valve. In other words, if the pressure may be built up in the tank, and the water tank explodes.

Can A Leak Indicate A Broken Heating Element?

Your electric water heater can leak due to a broken or damaged heating element gasket. If the element of heating is suspected, make sure to turn off the water and power. After that, drain all water out of the water tank.

Finally, replace the gasket. You must remember to run hot water in a sink before turning the power back on to the unit. It will prevent more damage to the heating element.

Will A Leaking Water Heater Make The Water Dirty?

Sometimes, the water heater leaks because of a rusty pipe. It leads to an added danger to the water supply. The water is exposed to rust and is likely to absorb dust and bacteria.

It will then be distributed throughout the home from the leaking water heater. Such dirty water is detrimental to the individuals’ health in a house by exposing them to potentially harmful bacteria or chemicals in the water.

And How Does A Leak Damage Property?

The property’s damage around a leaking water heater, such as the surrounding walls or floor, is fundamental. If the water is leaking from the relief valve, it can lead to mold and can even seep down to the home’s foundation, ultimately weakening the foundation and leading to several other problems.

If you find any water around a water heater in your home, you should clean it up thoroughly as soon as possible. The area should also be monitored well for potential mildew or mold that may grow significantly as a result of water exposure.

What Causes A Water Heater To Leak?

Here are the reasons why your water heater may leak:

If The Temperature & Pressure (T&P) Valve Are Misused

Inside a tank, when water heats up, pressure builds. There is a safety valve to expel the excess pressure in your tank if the temperature becomes very high and becomes dangerous. It can also itself shut off.

Failure of these safety measures leads to the leaking of the water tank. If the pressure rises beyond a limit, the tank can even burst. Several dollars are required to repair the damage. Also, if anyone is nearby, the explosion can be catastrophic. A fire can ignite due to the leak.

is a leaking water heater dangerous

Sediment Buildup And Leaking Water Heater

We know that water heaters are constructed of steel. This steel is usually iron. The iron corrodes with time and becomes rust. The anode rod in the heater of water prevents the entry of rust and salt in the water. However, the anode rod will work well only for five years, and it needs replacement after that.

Your water heater may not filter the sediments and drain them in the water, thereby making the water dirty, if your anode rod has completed its lifespan. Due to the sediment buildup at the tank’s base, corrosion or insulation occurs, forming pinhole leaks, causing water heater leaking from the bottom.

How To Stop Water Heater Leakage?

It does not matter whatever the cause be, as soon as you notice a leak, it is hugely recommended that you must, before everything else, turn off the power supply to the water heater. Go to your home’s circuit breaker box and switch off the breaker.

It is also suggested that you shut off the water supply through the cold water valve on the water heater. When electricity and water are mixed, it becomes hazardous. Hence, you must avoid such a situation.

Be sure the temperature of the water heater is between 120 degrees Fahrenheit and 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

It must now become boiling. In case your Temperature and Pressure valve is not functioning well, you should replace it.

Water Heater Leaking From Top:

It is easier to fix a leak from the top than the water heater leaking from bottom. If such a problem occurs, you must inspect all plumbing over the heater and scorch it. Check the Temperature and Pressure valve.

water heater leaking from top

If it is leaking, you can quickly tighten the seal or replace it. Another solution to prevent water heaters leaking from the relief valve is to notice if the valve of cold water is leaking. Tighten or replace it, if required.

water heater leaking from bottom

Water Heater Leaking From Bottom:

For a water heater leaking from the bottom, check the drain valve and turn it clockwise as much as possible if the valve is loose. Sometimes, a reason for the water heating from the bottom is the buildup of condensation.

Inside the water heater, the tank is worsening owing to the premature corrosion and sediment buildup. The tank inside the water heater is deteriorating due to sediment buildup and early decay. It generally happens with significant leaks.

The leak may be emerging from the top or water heater leaking from the relief valve, running down through the water heater’s body, and discharged at the bottom.

Notice: the color of your tap water. If the water’s color is rusty or brown, get the anode rod replaced as soon as possible. You should check the condition of the rod regularly to see if it requires replacement. Drain your water tank annually to avoid sediment buildup.


Now that you have the answer to “Will a leaking water heater explode?” it is essential to fix the leak. Experts and professionals should be called to avoid heavy and dangerous repairs.

Get your water heater checked annually and have the device serviced to prevent both water heater leaking from the relief valve and water heater leaking from bottom.

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